Thursday, September 29, 2011

Giordanno's

Wednesday, September 28: Channahon, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 27

Lot: Central Park


Today I went shopping with Ryan and the Fuscos. I had not bought groceries in a long time, as evidenced by the high total on my receipt.


It was warmer today and not so cold tonight; thank God for small favors.


Both shows were full, and I actually had fun performing, which is something I often forget to do.


Radar went to pick up a Chicago style pizza from Giordanno's for Armando. As thanks, Armando paid for Radar's pizza as well.

Radar was nice enough to share his bounty with me.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Kurt Russell Does Not A John Wayne Make

Tuesday, September 27: Darien, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 6

Lot: Carmelite Carefree Village


It ws great having only a 6 mile jump this morning. I had planned on going back to downtown Downers Grove again today, but the weather was so dreary and depressing that I didn't really feel like leaving the house.


Instead Ryan and I watched "Big Trouble in Little Chinatown"; what a strange movie!


Both shows were almost full.... Solid.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BILL BRASKY!

Monday, September 26: Downer's Grove, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 30

Lot: O'Neill Middle School


When I went to bed last night I heard it start to rain, and when I woke up this morning, the rain was still coming down.


Ryan and I went on a mision to Panera Bread, and on the way we spotted a cool book store to check out later.


I went and did some much needed laundry washing in town, and then Ryan and I went back to the Frugal Muse bookstore. It was very similar to a Half Price Books. In fact, the owners used to be managers at Half Price, so the similarties were evident.

There were a lot of great books and movies I wanted to pick up, but I tried to be frugal (to blend in with the theme of the store), so I ended up putting a few back on the shelves.


Even though the rain let up for the afternoon, it was still cold and dreary. Carolyn remarked to me at the laundromat that even though we have hit a spell of unpleasant weather, it helps us appreciate the great weather we have had for the majority of the season.


The first show was full, and the second show was almost full.


One of the DVDs I bought at the book store was "The Best of Will Ferrel Volume 2", and this sketch in particular kept me in stitches:



Watch To be Bill Brasky in Entertainment | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com


In the second water gag, Ryan and I were throwing out a few quotes from the sketch here and there, but at the end, I let out a big, loud, "BILL BRASKY!" that made Ryan prematurely spit his water in my face.

This prompted him to start improvising, which resulted in a longer gag and a wetter Steve.

Now mind you, it was FREEZING and normally I would be against lenthening our stay in the ring while soaking wet, but it was a fun little tangent for us to explore, and the audience ate it up.

Win win, I believe.


Our magician friend, Steve Chezeday, was at that show with some friends of his, so I said hello afterwards.


Radar and I went back to the Taphouse Grill that we found last night. I enjoyed sampling their tasty wares and seeing our good looking waitress again.





Monday, September 26, 2011

Stranger Me Like A Kiss

Sunday, September 25: Norwood Park, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Miles: 17

Lot: Norwood Park School Grounds


Today was a dreary day; I didn't really feel like doing anything. I finished reading "KIss Me Like A Stranger" by Gene Wilder; it was a great book that the Kelly family lent to me, and I finished it in just two days.


Both shows today were full. Sam, a young friend of my friends, the Podolksys, was at the first show with his mother, so I went out to visit them during Intermission.


Ryan made new latex clown noses for us (seriously, is there anything the man can't make?), so we were both sporting them today.


The first one he made for me was a little thin, and when I fell on my face in the artist gag, it put a huge dent in the center of the nose.

When Ryan saw me he could not stop laughing for half of the gag. I blew air out of my nostrils until I felt the dent pop back out.

Later in the day Ryan made a thicker nose for me and I didn't have any further problems.


The other silly occurrence of the day was when I wore big foam feet for the horse walkaround.

Ryan made them for a new gag, but to break up the day to day monotony a bit, I decided to break them in. Apparantley I like making things as difficult as possible for myself, because not only did the feet make movement more strenous, I also picked to wear them for the act where I have to run backwards while bent over.

To add to the disasterous gumbo of comedy, the ground was a real ankle breaker, full of lots of holes.

Luckily everything went fine and I won't be drawing disability from the show.


Tim Gault, a local clown that I met several years ago, was at the second show. He caught me as I was loading my ducks into the truck.

We talked briefly, but I had to get on the road to the next town since we were doing a night jump.


The jump was a real pain; I am glad we didn't do it in the morning. There was lots of traffic. stop lights, and bad roads.

Several of us also got caught waiting on a long, slow train to pass.


As soon as I got to the lot I jumped in a truck with Radar and Nikki to get something to eat. We were all starving, and we ate at a great tap room and grill.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Death Of A Salesman On Ice

Saturday, September 25: Rolling Meadows, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.


This morning I met up with my friend, Claire Wedermyer. I first met Claire in 2004 when she was a clown on the Red Unit of Ringling. She also spent two years as the clown on Kelly Miller.


We went to breakfast at the Egg'lectic Cafe; I had to get in one more visit before we left!


Both shows today were packed. Every seat was filled, including the extra bleachers that were put out.


Claire watched the first show, and then her friend, Ariele, came to the second show with her friend, Eric.

Ryan knew Ariele from Skirkus and Japan; and I had met her once before when Ringling played Chicago.

We spent some time catching up with them after the show was over.


I stayed in for the evening to make dinner and call some friends. It was really nice.




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lot Lice Infestation

Friday, September 23: Rolling Meadows, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 40

Lot: Community Center Park


This morning Ryan, Tatiana, and I had breakfast from one my favorite restaurants in the Chicago area, the Egg'lectic Cafe. They have delicious egg benedicts, and I had been looking forward to a return visit since we played Rolling Meadows back in 2009.


To avoid falling into a food coma after breakfast, I kept busy with some sewing. I fixed the blanket for the horse walkaround, and I cut some stray threads off one of our new gag costumes.


Radar called me and said that Susan Hoss was visiting, so I went over to say hello and chat with her a bit.


There were tons of people walking around the lot all day. Usually there are just people around in the morning for the tent raising, but folks just kept wandering in our yards right up until show time.


The first show was almost full, and the bleachers were packed for the second show. The only empty seats to be found were in the preferred seating section.


In finale I saw a guy in front of me that flashed me a peace sign; he looked familiar, but I just couldn't place who he was.

Backstage Ryan asked me if I had seen Giovanni Zoppe in the audience, and then it finally registered that it had been him.

We went out to the midway to say hello to him and his family.


Breaking parenting news from Ryan and Tatiana: Nico took his first steps tonight! Look out world!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Thursday, September 22: Lockport, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 41

Lot: Brett Hassert Park


Towards the end of this morning's jump there was a stretch where not many arrows were put up and the route became a little confusing. For a few minutes I thought that I had blown the arrows, but then I saw one and felt great relief that I was on the right track.


All day today Ryan worked on one of the costume/props for next year. I did little things like ripping seams and cutting out patches. I'm just glad to be a part of the team!


We did good business for both shows, although I thought there would be a lot more people from the amount of lot lice milling around the back yard all morning.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Stupid Backlight!

Tuesday, September 20: Somonauk, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 53

Lot: Community Park


My computer was still succeeding in raising my blood pressure today by not staying backlit.

The small, dead audiences we had for both shows didn't help my humor either.


There was a group of special needs folks at the second show that were having a great time and being very responsive, but they were sitting all the way at the back of the ring.

Backstage Ryan and I lobbied for them to be moved to the front of the ring where their energy could be better appreciated.


The Norths arrived this evening, and halfway through the second show my computer screen decided to stay lit. Huzzah! (Unfortunately it is a problem that will be recurring, because it all starts over again when I have to turn my computer off)


Between the stress from my computer, the dissapointment from the audiences,my achy wrist (from God knows what), and a terrible headache, today wasn't my best day.


NEXT!



Wednesday, September 21: Crete, IL-Day Off

Miles: 94


We couldn't stay in Somonauk today (which is actually a blessing), and we couldn't go to Lockport, the next town, so we ended up driving almost 100 miles back to Crete, where we showed about two weeks ago, so we could have a place to sit for the day.


That threw a monkey wrench in my plans of catching a Metra train in Lockport so I could hang out with friends in downtown Chicago. Oh well, a day off is a day off.


Unfortunately the lot in Crete has nothing to do for miles around, so Ryan and I jumped in my truck and drove to Schererville, IN to run some errands.


We went to Best Buy to consult the Geek Squad on our computer issues (yep, Ryan's Mac is crapping out too), we had lunch, we bought more gag costume fabric at Joann's, and we picked up duck and pig food.

All in all, a productive afternoon!


Kelly Miller rented two big charter buses, and in the evening almost the entire show went to see Universoul Circus about 30 miles away.

I wasn't going to go originally, but since there was nothing else to do, I changed my mind.


I had a lot of fun at the show; it was my first time at Universoul. I thought the tent and lighting system were great, and there were some fantastic acts. My favorites were the Chinese bicycle act, the Russian swing, and the contortionist.

One of my few complaints was the lack of clowning, since when I go to a circus all I want to see is clowns. The rest of the show is filler to me.


Onionhead, the resident clown, did a warm up gag (which Ryan got picked for), and then you didn't see him again for the rest of the show. He wasn't even in finale!


Many thanks to everyone who made the trip to Universoul possible; it made our day off a lot of fun.


(Just to show you how much I care about our fans, I had to type this on a black screen and proof read by flicking the brightness on and off so I would have a second of visibility at a time. I'm lucky I didn't have a seizure!)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day Off

Hey everyone,

We had the day off today, so I will resume blogging tomorrow (my computer willing).
Almost the whole show is going to see Universoul Circus tonight; it will be my first time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Steve & Ryan Radio Appearance

Many thanks to Gary Podolsky for finding this. For those of you that missed us on the radio Sunday morning (and actually CARE to see us), check it out here!


The segment roughly starts at the 1:31:00 mark. It continues here:

Enjoy!

You Could Hear A Pin Drop

No kidding, several minutes after that last post, my computer decided to cooperate.

Still, if a blog post doesn't go up on time, you will know the reason. (See my previous post)


Monday, September 19: Belvidere, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 52

Lot: fairgrounds


It was raining when we got up this morning, and the jump took a long time to complete due to the wet, dark, two lane roads replete with stop lights.


There was a little mud in the backdoor area after set up, but nothing bad. I can't even remember the last time we had mud on the lot.


My computer was still being a jerk today. Something is wrong with the backlight in the screen, because when I try and make the screen bright, it automatically goes completely dark again.

After much finagling, I finally got the screen to stay lit right before the start of the first show.


To be honest, a part of me enjoyed not having computer access because I got a lot of other things done: I read, I watched a movie, and I got a good way through one of my video games.

Of course I didn't do anything worthwhile like clean my trailer, find us winter work, or get a girlfriend, but Rome wasn't built in a day!


Even though the day started out miserable, the sun came out in the early afternoon and it was a nice day.


There was an average sized crowd for the first show; talk about a dead audience!

When we all styled in finale, the crowd was completely silent. Sometimes all you can do is laugh!


We did good business for the second show, and the audience was much better. Ryan remarked that it was like performing in a different town.

It's funny how much difference a few hours can make in an audience's reaction. Just one of those things that keeps you on your toes as a performer...or causes you to lose hair and sleep....


Hey everyone,

My computer is spazzing out on me still. Occasionally I can get it to work, and other days (like today) I can't.
I am typing this with my screen completely dark; I can only check my work by toggling the brightness on and off. In other words, not conditions I wish to type a complete entry under.

Updates may be sporadic at best until I reach a solution. Actually, if anyone wants to take up a collection and buy me a new Mac so I can continue the blog, that would be fantastic! ;)

Sorry everyone; hang in there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Unite My Electronic Brethren!

Sunday, September 18: Vernon Hills, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

This morning Jeannie Schwieger picked me and Ryan up at the lot at 8:30 a.m. to take us to the radio station where she works in Round Lake Beach.
We were on the air with Jeannie and her cohost, Dennis, who bought my dinner the other night in McHenry.
We managed to plug both the show and ourselves quite a few times in the hour and a half that we were on the air.

Our friends Toto Johnson and Alex Zaprudsky signed in to the station's chat room and joked around with us via the Internet; thank you guys for tuning in, and thank you to every one else that watched and listened.

We had a great time on the radio; many thanks to Jeannie and Dennis for having us on the show. Many thanks also to Jeannie for the delicious mint chocolate chip cookies she baked!

The first show was almost full. Photographer, Jim Koretz, was at the show with his father, so I visited with them during Intermission.

The second show was full. Jeannie and Dennis were in the audience, as well as Gary Podolksy (a 1985 Clown College grad), his wife, and some of their family.
I visited with all of them during Intermission. I was just sorry that they saw Kelly Miller on Ice...let me explain.
It rained all day, and the ring mat becomes very slick when a)wet and b)on top of cement. Everyone had to be especially careful with their footing during the show so as not to break their necks!

All weekend I had been looking forward to having sushi, so after the shows I got cleaned up and went across the street to a restaurant that promised to be a Brazilian steakhouse and sushi...teria?
After being seated, I quickly realized that it was not a place where you could order sushi; rather
sushi was a part of the salad buffet.
....no thanks.

With my heart set on having a nice sit down meal, I settled for Olive Garden.
On the way back to the lot it started raining harder than it had been. I made a detour to stop in Wal Mart for some necessities, and then I had to load up my ducks before I went inside, so I got soaked!

My phone didn't react very well to getting wet (I was texting while I was walking in the rain), and it started going all Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" on me.
Not only that, my laptop decided to join in the electrical anarchy and the screen kept blacking out.

Luckily Gary Podolsky and his wife Ellyn came to the rescue with a tray full of Ellyn's delicious baked goods to soothe my jangled nerves.
Also, once my phone had a few minutes to dry, it began behaving like a productive member of society again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Your Opinion Matters

Saturday, September 17: Vernon Hills, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.


This morning I went for breakfast, and then I spent some time making a mental wish list over at Barnes & Noble.

Ryan gave me a call, so I met him and accompanied him over to a Halloween Store, Best Buy, and TJ Maxx where I bought a shirt for a new gag.


Today was sunny and much warmer than yesterday; the first show was about 3/4 full.


During the first half there were dumb people that had disregarded the caution tape and safety cones and were speeding right through the back yard.

That really irritated me since there are circus children and animals constantly walking around backstage.


While we were talking about annoyances, Ryan told me of an occurrence that happened yesterday. While he was out looking at rhinestones and feathers from some guy selling them in the parking lot, a lady pulled up in her car and yelled out the window, "Boo circus! Boo!!!! Go home! We don't want you here! Booooooo!!!!!".

Ryan said he was very tempted to tell the lady (in his most patronizing voice of course), "Good job! You're making a difference! Your opinion matters!"

I found that very funny.


John Moss found me after the first show and told me that Sandy Weber and his family were looking for me. Sandy is on the board of directors for the International Clown Hall of Fame, and he also designed their new logo and website.

He and his family saw the first show and said they had a great time.


We had a full house for the second show, and the audience was good. Mr. Bill Machtel, a former Ringling and Circus World clown, and his family were at the performance.

Afterwards they took me to dinner at an Irish pub where I had a great time picking Mr. Bill's brain about his first few years on Ringling.

We ended up getting our meal for free because the pub's computer was down. Hooray!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Radio Reminder

Just a reminder, we are going to be on the radio TOMORROW morning, Sunday the 18th, starting at 9 a.m. central time.
You can watch and listen to us here!


Be there or be L7!

Great.

Friday, September 16: Vernon Hills, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 20

Lot: Vernon Hills Mall


This morning after I had been parked at the lot, I went into my house to get water for the ducks. My bathroom door had come open on the jump, and my underwear drawer had come open behind it, thus blocking me from accessing the back of my trailer.


This has happened a couple of times before, so I knew the protocol. A little bit of space is left for me to get my fingers behind the door to inch the drawer shut, but this morning something was jamming the drawer so it couldn't close. Great.


I went outside to unlock my bedroom door so I could go in the back end of my trailer to close the drawer, but a key was broken off in the top lock of the door. Great.


I tried using needle nose pliers to get the broken key out, but to no avail. Finally I got my screwdriver set out, which has a small pointed tool.

As I was trying to pry the fragment out, I managed to stab myself in the thumb. Great....I mean...OUCH!


Finally I found that if I pressed the key fragment from the left side, it would open the door. I guess if times get rough I can always find work as a lock pick....

I climbed into my trailer via the bedroom and saw that some of my boxers were sticking out of the drawer, blocking it from closing all the way. I threw the boxers on the floor, closed my drawer and the bathroom door, and proceeded with my morning routine.


Radar and I had breakfast across the street from the lot, and later we went with Nikki to explore the mall.


It was an overcast, cool day; luckily not as cold as the past couple of days though. We had average sized crowds for the shows.


I was feeling very emotional while I was getting into make up; I felt like I was going to start crying.

I have no idea why I felt that way, or what set it off, but it was a very strong feeling that continued until we started doing the first show.

All the emotion found a release in the water gag. I could not stop laughing towards the end of the act, and I laughed for maybe three full minutes after the gag as I was getting changed in my trailer.


I don't know what was up with me, but I'm glad that laughter was the end result. There's not much that's funny about a crying clown.

Well.....maybe it is KINDA funny.


Jeremiah went into the show with his fire breathing act today; I am glad that I don't have to rush so much after the water gag now to do finale.


During our earlier tour of the mall, I found an Irish pub with a good menu that was having karaoke tonight. After getting cleaned up from the shows I walked halfway around the mall to get to the pub, only to discover that they weren't serving their full menu...at 10 p.m.....on a Friday night!


I decided to check out the sushi restaurant across the street from the lot, but they too were closed...at 10 p.m....on a Friday night!


I decided to just go home to sit and pout in my trailer. I was pretty tired anyway, so I went to bed early.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Steve & Ryan On The Radio!

Hey everyone,

THIS Sunday, September 18th, tune in at this website:


to see us LIVE as we do a radio interview. It begins at 9 a.m. central time, and the plan is for us to be there until 10 a.m.

Check it out!

B.E.D.

Thursday, September 15: McHenry, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


This morning a septic truck came by the lot to dump our donnikers. He instantly became the most popular person on the lot!


Ryan and I went to Staples to get our new letter header printed out, and then we went by Wal Mart so I could buy some new bed sheets. I never realized bedding was so freaking expensive. Yeesh!


Today was warmer thanks to our good friend the sun, who decided to grace us with his presence. It still got cold at night though!


We did good business for the first show, and there were more people at the second show. The second crowd was really good too, which helped us deal with the cold.


Jeannie Schwieger came to the second performance with her coworker, Dennis, and his daughter. They took me and Radar to Steak 'N Shake after work where Dennis treated us to dinner. Groovy!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Cry Of The Banshee

Wednesday, September 14: McHenry, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 10

Lot: Peterson Park


This morning after enjoying a delicious breakfast at Panera Bread, I visited the laundromat and the post office.


Ryan, Tatiana, and Nico went shopping, and then I met them for lunch. After we ate we checked out the Halloween store in town. Nico bravely faced the vampires, zombies, and other assorted ghouls, whereas Uncle Steve wet himself from fear twice.


It was a very chilly day. I didn't particularly want to leave my warm trailer and do shows in the cold.


We had decent business for the first show, but there were less people at the second show. There was; however, a group of young girls that screamed the entire show.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the audience having a good time and showing it, but these girls just let loose blood curdling shrieks at the strangest times conceivable. In short, they were being obnoxious.


In the water gag Ryan and I had heard enough from the banshees. When the music stopped in the gag, the girls all screeched one more time.

I turned to them and yelled, "Shut! Up!"

The audience laughed loudly, and then bit by bit, the majority of the audience gave me a round of applause.

It was so funny! All I could do was bow to each section while marveling at how annoying the girls must have been for my reprimand to be met with an ovation.


After the shows Casey, Radar, Nikki, and I went to a bar a little ways out of town that had karaoke. We found the place last year, and after singing a few songs for the clientele, we had them in the palms of our hands.


This year was no exception; the locals quickly remembered us from last year, and they treated us like the rock stars we are!

I got to sing a lot of songs. My selections ranged from "My Kind of Town" in the style of Sinatra, to "The Curley Shuffle", "Rainbow Connection", and selections from "Avenue Q".


Our friend, Susan Hoss, from Brookfield Zoo, joined us about midway through our singing soiree. She then came back to the lot for awhile to hang out after we closed down the bar.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sleepy Time

Tuesday, September 13: Island Lake, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 20

Lot: Water Tower Park


This morning, after releasing the ducks (which is almost as frightening as releasing the Kraken) and making breakfast, I collapsed into bed for a nap.

I didn't get much sleep last night due to our night out, and I was also not feeling so hot. Apparently the cold I have been fighting is slowly gaining ground.


I wasn't the only one that was beat today.



We did decent business for the first show, and the second show was almost full.

Once again the second audience was fantastic.


We had a great water gag that helped me forget how crummy I was feeling; it was so much fun.


After the shows I took some Nyquil and went right to bed.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

High Lining It: The Steve Copeland Way

Monday, September 12: Round Lake Beach, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 40

Lot: Civic Center


This morning's drive took forever due to horrible traffic and about a million stop lights.

On the plus side, the lot was set up a lot better than last year. In 2010 a lot of folks were parked across from the tent in a METRA parking lot, where they had no power.

This year only a couple of people were on the outskirts of the lot, and to the best of my knowledge, they did have power.


This morning I was "high lining it" as Dudley Hamilton says. I had Starbucks AND Panera Bread! OOO DA LOLLY!


Ryan and I walked over to Hobby Lobby and Joann's Fabrics to do some shopping for new gags.

While at Joann's we ran into Jeremiah, who was looking for materials to build a fire eating table.

He hired Ryan's services for construction of said table, and Ryan also helped him pick out fabric to make a skirt....for the aforementioned table. Table table table.


Before heading back to the lot I stopped for lunch at Chipotle. The cute girl behind the counter was flirting with me while I ordered. As I was paying she told me, "You'll have to come back tomorrow and let me know how your food was. I made the meat myself."

I told her that I was only in town for one day, and then I made the mistake of dropping the dirty C word.

Circus.


After that, she quickly lost all interest and went on to the next customer. I do have a way with the ladies....


The first show was 3/4 full, and the second show was full. Jeannie Schwieger, Barbara Yurisich, and Suzanne Flynn were at the second show. They got to see us in front of a fantastic audience. I had so much fun performing!


The ladies joined us for dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, where Casey's magician friend, Paul Lee also met up with us.

I had a good time hanging out and watching Paul Lee do magic and hearing some of his circus stories.

I was pretty tired though, and we stayed out a little later than I had wanted.


Ryan went with Armando, Buckner, and Dan to see the new movie "Contagion", which Dan was an extra in.

They said you could see the back of his head in a press room scene. A star is born!



Steve & Ryan Are On The Web!

It's done! After a year in the making (only two days of which consisted of any actual work on the site), the Steve & Ryan website is up and running!


Many thanks to Alex Zaprudsky for designing such an awesome site for us. After your visit, don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and any other social media website you can think of.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hair Pulling Stress

Sunday, September 11: Harvard, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Miles: 32

Lot: Milky Way Park


When we woke up, Alex and I called GoDaddy's tech support to see why we couldn't upload the Steve & Ryan website.

They were very helpful, and in just a few minutes our website was online!


Alex made a new business card for us while I worked on the photo gallery for our website.

Unfortunately, when I tried to update the site I managed to crash the whole thing.

*%$#^@*&*^^&**&!!!!!!!!!


Alex had to take off right before the first show; it was so nice having him visit. He helped us out SO much while he was here.


Greg, Karen, and Emily DeSanto came to visit today. I chatted with them while I got into makeup, and then they went into the tent to watch the first show.


Hey performers, you know the feeling when you can't do anything right when there are people in the audience that you want to make proud?

Yeah, that was the first show for us.


At least both performances were almost full, and the second audience was much better. I wish the DeSantos could have seen us perform for them instead.


We did get to visit with Greg, Karen, and Emily for a bit between shows, and Ryan and I bought a few books from Greg.

I got an autobiography by Charlie Rivel, and a book on the Fratellinis written by Albert. Score!


During the second show I called GoDaddy once again to find out how to fix the monumental mess I made of our site.

I didn't like the answer at all, but there was not much I could do about it. I deleted the site and started from scratch; uploading each and every page, file, and image manually.

Ugh.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Website Work

Saturday, September 10: Lake In The Hills, IL-2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Miles: 34

Lot: Sunset Park


My friend, Don Lansu, came by the lot this morning to visit. I met Don back in 2001 when I was attending the clown training program, Moosecamp. Don was filming the camp's activities and the student show at the end of the week.

We have kept in touch since then, and he always comes to visit me when one of my shows is in the area.


He came bearing gifts: Guinness paraphernalia for me (a shirt, two drinking glasses, and an 8 pack of Guinness) and a NASCAR blanket and steering wheel for Nico.

It was very thoughtful of him to bring us gifts....and to teach Nico how to drive a race car!


Don took me to breakfast at a restaurant I discovered last year called Burnt Toast. We had a delicious meal, and then he took me to Wal Mart so I could do some shopping.


Back at the lot I joined Alex and Ryan who had been working on our website all morning; they continued all the way up until the second performance as well.


The first show was almost full, and the second was full. Don and his family came to the first performance, and Alex watched the second show to take photographs.


We had to jump to the next town after the shows because Lake In The Hills likes the circus enough to have us back every year, but they don't like us enough to let us stay overnight.


Luckily Reyna was making my favorite Mexican dish, tortas, for supper, so Alex and I both grabbed one for the road.


Once we got to the lot in Harvard, Ryan, Alex, and I jumped right back into work on the website.

We got everything finished, but we couldn't figure out how to upload it online. Finally around 1:30 a.m. we gave up and went to bed in a state of frustration.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bo & Bello, Bello & Bo

Friday, September 9: Elmhurst, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 16

Lot: Sandburg Middle School


We have encountered some horrible roads on these suburban Chicago jumps. I'll be lucky if I don't lose a tire in a pothole!


Alex took me and Ryan to Panera Bread for breakfast. That's how you start a day off right!


Ryan and I did a PR after the tent raising where we did a meet and greet and mini performance for a group of special needs children.

John Moss hosted the event, Carolyn and Gigi presented dog and pony tricks, Joel did some rope spinning, and Ryan and I provided general numbskullery.

It was fun doing some different, slightly improvised material for a change, and the group seemed to receive it well.


Alex started helping us with our website today. I cannot wait until it is done; Ryan and Alex have some incredible ideas as far as page layouts go.


We took a break from work to have lunch at Burger Heaven, a little corner restaurant that my friend Lisa introduced me to last year.

We also checked out a book store a few miles from the lot, but they didn't have anything that I just HAD to buy, especially after spending money at Tim Tegge's mobile store yesterday.


It was a dreary, drizzly day, which didn't help motivate us into getting ready for the shows.


The first performance was almost full, but it was an off show for us. The second show was full, and we were back on our game.


We ordered dinner from Buffalo Wild Wings so we could eat at my trailer and continue to work on the website.


When I went to pick up the wings, I discovered that Alex's car has bad luck with trains.

There was a railroad crossing I had to go past in order to get to the restaurant, but the guards were down and the lights were flashing as if a train was preparing to pass.


I waited for a few minutes, and when there was no train to be seen, I turned onto the street running parallel to the tracks and parked.

I noticed that a train was parked far away from the crossing; despite the fact that it wasn't moving, several crossing points were blocked.


After checking to make sure that the train was indeed stationary, I crossed to go pick up our food.


There are little car statues with different themed paint jobs all over downtown Elmhurst. The one outside Buffalo Wild Wings had a circus/sideshow paint job, and it included several clowns.

Upon closer inspection I realized that they were all Red Show clowns from Ringling's Bo and Bello tour in 2001.

I could pick out Karen Hinrichs, Eddie Medrano, Bryan Fulton, Pamela Ramirez, Mitch Freddes, and Christine Duenas.

Gloin Haven!





Of course, after I picked up our wings, the train started moving again and I had to wait before I could cross back to Alex's car.

Luckily this train was moving a lot faster than the one from last night!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Hello, I Must Be Going

Thursday, September 8: Berwyn, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 16

Lot: Janura Park


This morning started off on the wrong foot when the generator truck broke down on the lot in Posen.

Julio took one of the other show trucks to go get it, so it didn't arrive until around 10:30 a.m.

That also delayed the set up of the new tent, because they couldn't begin setting up until the generator arrived.


Ryan and I left the lot around noon to explore downtown, and even though the generator had been parked for an hour and a half, the tent set up still had not begun.


Ryan and I stopped by the vintage store that we visit every year, but unfortunately they didn't have any outstanding dresses for us to purchase for clown drag.

Yes, that's it....clown drag...


We also went back to a great coffee shop that I found this morning. In addition to having delicious coffee, they had a hang out area where you could choose from a selection of books to read or movies to watch.


Susan Hoss, a senior animal keeper at the Brookfield Zoo, and one of her coworkers, brought me and Radar lunch from Culver's. Thanks ladies!


The set up of the new tent was finally completely finished around 3 p.m.


The first show was almost full, and the second show was full. The audiences were fantastic as well.

Nothing was too drastically different for us about doing the show in the new tent, except the area between the curtain and the ring was bigger.


Circus collector extraordinaire, Tim Tegge, was visiting during the shows; he sold me some awesome circus books.

My favorite purchase was a tome that had a photo of Lou Jacobs jumping out of the firehouse in that classic gag. Sweeeeet.


Our friend, Alex Zaprudsky, arrived tonight; he will be visiting for a few days. He watched the second show with Will, one of the Smirkos he worked with this summer, and another local circus performer, Phil.


The two audiences today can say they were the only ones to see the Kelly Miller Circus under its new tent in 2011. Tomorrow the tent is being taken back to have some things fixed and adjusted, and we will use the old tent for the remainder of the season.


After the shows Alex and I met Radar, Nikki, and Casey at a bar for dinner. When we went to leave, there was a train stopped on the tracks outside, blocking our path back to the lot.

Of course it had to be the longest, slowest train in the history of train-dom!

We drove several blocks, looking for for an open intersection to cross, but the train just kept coming! And then stopping for long periods of time....


Finally after about 10 minutes or more of waiting to cross, an intersection opened up and we were able to go back to the lot.

Yeesh!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day Off And A New Tent

Tuesday, September 6: Posen, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Miles: 16

Lot: Memorial Park


Up until a couple of days ago, I thought we were going to be playing Midlothian today, but we were actually in the next town over, only about 3 miles from the old lot.

I had heard that it was a bad neighborhood, but it didn't look scary at all.


Ryan found out that not many tickets had been pre sold, and when Tavana told him about a restaurant in town with a food challenge, he asked her to call them and set up a publicity.


The restaurant was Bartolini's (http://www.bartolinis.com), which was featured on the Food Network in their program, "Outrageous Food".

The restaurant makes a 10 lbs. meatball sub that folks are challenged to eat in a limited amount of time.


Ryan and I got made up, and along with Armando, Dan, and Jeremiah (our cheerleaders), we hopped in the circus van and drove over to Bartolini's.


We met the owner, Dominic, who was a lot of fun and joked with us constantly.



While we waited for the sub to be cooked, we were intimidated by the Food Network footage of the 10 pounder, which was shown in a loop on a TV by the counter.


Finally, after my dread had reached its peak, the sandwich was brought out. 40 meatballs, 1.5 lbs. of sauce, 1.5 lbs. of cheese, and 1.5 lbs. of peppers adding up to one big challenge!





(And no, I don't know what "Soya" means. I'm just an idiot.)


We were told that we had 45 minutes to eat the whole thing, we had to eat equal parts to win, and if anything "came up", we could eat the regurgitation and still win.

Good to know...

If we won, fame and a t-shirt would be our reward. If we lost, shame and disappointment would hang over our heads for the rest of our lives (which is the norm for us).



We tucked in with a lot of enthusiasm, but as our sinuses and arteries began to fill with meat and sauce, we began to slow down.



Together we finished about a quarter of the sandwich. We are just not as gluttonous as we thought.


Even though we didn't succeed in the meatball sub challenge, we made friends with the staff at Bartolini's. What a cool group!

(On a side note, it should surprise no one that neither of us was hungry for the rest of the day.)


There was an average-ish crowd for the first show, but the second show was 3/4 full. They were a great audience too!


Ryan and I tried a new bit in the artist gag that worked great; we have a keeper!


Casey arrived tonight for a visit. We joined him at a bar downtown where they had karaoke. Score!



Wednesday, September 7: Posen, IL-Day Off


I had planned to sleep in this morning, but I was so excited about having the day off that I woke up early, and I was ahead of schedule by an hour.


I walked to a METRA station about a mile from the lot and rode it all the way into downtown Chicago.


I started out my exploration by walking to Millenium Park. My favorite spots in that area were Buckingham Fountain and Cloud Gate.




Next I walked the Magnificent Mile and shot over to Navy Pier where I had lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern. On the way I saw the world's largest exhibitionist.



Sweet!


When I was ready to head back to the train station, I took State Street, where in 2004 and 2006 I performed with Ringling Bros. in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.



I found out that I had awhile to wait before the next train to Posen, so I went to get an hour long massage that left me feeling great. My legs and lower back were killing me from the 20 or so miles I walked downtown.


When I returned to the LaSalle St. Station, the lady at the desk told me that the train that was just about to leave was the one that would take me to my destination.


I got on, and after about 15 minutes the intercom announced the first stop: Midlothian.

I thought to myself, "That can't be right, it took me an hour or so to get to Chicago from there; this must be a different stop with the same name as the town I'm heading to."

(As you can see, I'm not always smart. Thank God I'm good looking!)


As we were leaving the Midlothian stop, I whipped out my phone, pulled up my GPS program...and found out that the lot was a mile and a half from the station we were leaving.


At the next stop I asked one of the METRA employees if the train was going to the Robbins stop. He laughed and told me that we were heading in the opposite direction.

Great.

If I could see the lady at the train station again, I would punch her right in the ovaries!


Luckily the station where I got off was only 5 miles from the lot. I called Casey, and he came and picked me up at the CVS across the street.

As a bonus, I was able to pick up some much needed supplies at the shop.


Back at my trailer I took a quick shower, and then I joined Casey and Nikki for dinner at Bartolini's. Rest assured, I stayed away from anything with meatballs in it.


It was nice to meet the staff out of make up, and our sponsor for Posen and Dominic bought me a beer for doing stupid human tricks, such as juggling quarters and balancing a chair on my chin. That's right, subtlety is my middle name.


I was happy that even though I had a great, full day off, I still was in bed by 9:30 p.m.!


And now the part you've all been waiting for. We all know you tolerated my antics from the past two days just to get to this part.

In fact, most of you probably scrolled to the bottom to see these pictures before you even read the post.

IF you even read the post!

But don't worry, I'm not offended.....


ANYWHO! We had a day off on Wednesday because Kelly Miller's new tent arrived! Here are some pictures: